A published report says several major U.S. air carriers gave federal authorities
personal information on millions of passengers in the days immediately after
the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks.
The New York Times newspaper says American, United and Northwest airlines
were among the carriers that turned over an unprecedented number of passenger
records to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI.
Airlines have routinely provided passenger information to the FBI, but the
requests usually are related to a particular flight or travels by a specific
The newspaper quotes an unnamed FBI official as saying the Bureau requested
the records under its general legal authority to investigate crimes. But he
says there is no indication the data ever produced any significant evidence
about the September 11 plot or the 19 hijackers that carried out the attacks.
The records include information such as the person's name, address, destination
and credit card number.
The FBI says in airline passenger information does not have the same federal
privacy protection as financial and health records, but the news has raised
concerns among privacy and civil rights activists.